April 15, 2015

Lost & Found

Virginia Basketball has been doing a lot of losing in 2015.

Lost to Duke.

Lost Justin Anderson to the pinky injury.

Lost Justin Anderson AGAIN, to a stupid appendectomy.

Lost to Louisville.

Lost to Kerlina in the ACC Tournament.

Lost out on a 1-seed... one that went to Duke, giving them a ridiculously soft cakewalk to a national championship.

Lost to Michigan State in the Round of 32.

Lost B.J. Stith to a transfer to ODU.

Lost Ritchie McKay (and Brad Soucie) to Liberty.

Lost Justin Anderson to the NBA Draft.

That's a lot of losing.

I'll try to bite my tongue on Justin Anderson going pro.  Ultimately, it's a good thing for the program to be putting players into the Association... even if those players are leaving behind unfinished business, can't go right, and will be drafted as a D & 3 wing even though they have a highly questionable (and certainly not long-term proven) 3-point stroke.  Ooops, so much for biting my tongue.

Yeah, okay, I admit, I'm a little bit salty about Justin Anderson going pro.  Probably because I care more about the program's success than him chasing his individual dream.  And also because I now have to re-write my narrative of lofty expectations for the 2015-16 campaign.  (Yep, I jinxed everything on February 4, 2014.)

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely wish Justin the best of luck!  I'm just butthurt right now.  Someday, Virginia will catch a break.

But look, even though there's a lot of losing, frustration, and disappointment around Virginia Basketball right now, the arrow is still pointing up.  It might be hard to see the forest for the trees, but for all we've lost, there are a lot of things we found!  Check it out...

Found exactly what we need to add to this roster in order to be able to advance deeper into the NCAA Tournament.  (Shot-takers and shot-makers.  In a word: shooters.)

Found that Tony Bennett is at Virginia to stay.  (You do know that he turned down Texas before they went after Shaka Smart, right?  Sorry Ramfans.  Tough reality check for the VCU fans who bandwagoned the Final Four run.)

Found not one, but TWO scholarships to play around with.  I'm not sure what Tony is going to do (I hope he brings in an instant-impact 5th year senior transfer, a JUCO, and/or a class of 2015 kid who can shoot the ball from the wing.)  This is going to sound really hardcore and cold, but if B.J. Stith was never going to crack the rotation - and he was on the trajectory to be recruited over in 2016 - then I'm glad we have the open scholarship instead of having it tied up for another three seasons.

Found the chance to promote Jason Williford to the lead assistant role, which should aid in the retention of a highly-skilled and talented member of the coaching staff.

Found the opportunity to backfill the coaching staff with someone who might be able to add a dose of offensive dynamism and/or recruiting firepower to the mix.  I don't have any names that Tony is exploring, but it's clear to me that he's going to bring in a fresh voice equipped with interesting ideas to help rejuvenate the operation.

Found a clear path toward major playing time for Darius Thompson, coming off his transfer redshirt in 2015-16.  Odds are good that DT will step right into JA's vacated minutes... and DT is a long, lean, dribble-drive athlete, the likes of which we have yet to see function in the Bennettball system at UVA.  Offensive catalyst.  Plus, he's a very good defender.

Found the possibility to come into next season not ranked in the preseason top-5.  Under the radar with a chip on our shoulders... that's where Virginia is at its most dangerous.


  1. I see Tony using at least one of the scholarships on a transfer big, someone who will sit out next year and become eligible after the monster class graduates. The last scholie I have no clue, I doubt there are any recruits that would realistically come here and be able to make an impact intermediately next year and I just don't see a "one year rental" graduate transfer as Tony's style. I don't think Tony goes after a big man recruit since we would have Salt, Wilkins, Reuter, Killeya-Jones plus my hopeful transfer big (or Diakite) lined up for 2016-17. That leaves using the last scholarship on a player who will basically fill what would have been Stith's role on the roster next year, i.e. end of bench wing. I trust Tony to find a diamond in the rough though, and I think Tony has the tendency to use every scholarship possible without regard for class size/playing time (see Jones, Teven or Barnette, Taylor, or even Stith)

    1. I kinda think we're good on bigs (assuming we land Diakite). Wilkins, Salt, Reuter, SKJ, Diakite. That's enough, especially for a program that would prefer to use a lane-opening stretch-4.

      The real need is a shooter. Mark my words.

  2. JA should have stayed another year. He has the NBA frame and the athleticism but his game is not NBA ready yet. My prediction is he gets drafted late 1st round and makes a team but ends up in the NBDL for the yr. If he was coming back UVA would at least advanced to the Sweet 16? I don't see to much upside in Salt, and Reuter other than being tall. Salt, will see garbage time and Reuter will redshirt. They need to use a scholarship on someone to contribute right away?

    1. Not sure how you're able to write off Salt and Reuter, sight unseen.